Pollster.com

September 13, 2009 - September 19, 2009

 

5770 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Nate Silver says the battle for health care public opinion has been fought to a draw.

Alan Reifman charts a small, across-the-board health care bump for Obama.

Steve Benen finds little appeal for the GOP outside the South.

Joshua Tucker urges pollsters to start reporting results by region.

Charlie Cook thinks Democrats should focus on purple America.

Steve Singiser sees Obama bouncing back.

Gary Andres says Americans are growing anxious about big government and one-party rule.

Charles Blow examines Americans' views of racism.

Renard Sexton reviews evidence of voter fraud in Afghanistan.

Lee Sigelman says McDonnell is a sure thing in VA.

Tom Jensen previews PPP's plans for next week.

National Journal insiders name their favorite columnists.

Kristen Soltis talks microtargeting with Alex Lundry and Craig Kirchoff.

Frank Luntz releases his second book (via Lundry).

George Washington is a mystery to Oklahoma high school students (via Huffington).

...and Happy 5770! L'Shana Tova to all!!


NJ: Christie 37 Corzine 33 (Neighborhood 9/14-17)


Neighborhood Research
9/14-17/09; 347 likely voters, 5.3% margin of error
ModeL Live telephone interviews
(Neighborhood release)

New Jersey

2010 Governor
Christie 37%, Corzine 33%, Daggett 8% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 46 / 33 (chart)
Jon Corzine (D): 21 / 48 (chart)
Chris Christie (R): 28 / 26
Chris Daggett (i): 8 / 1


Sixty-Five Views of HC Reform, One Big Trend


HCReformStatic.png

The trend in opinion on health care reform has been a bit tricky of late. After a long and substantial rise of opposition, and an equally long but less sizable decline in support, we came to August, the month for the strange in politics. This year was stranger than most with loud and angry town halls, fearful politicians reluctant to meet constituents, cable news of gun toting demonstrators, an extended presidential vacation and the death of an icon. And what did all the rancor produce? Apparently, the sound and fury signified, surprisingly, a flattening of the trends in opinion. Opposition slowed its rise (not accelerated), and support halted its fall and by the second week of August, began a modest rise. And that before the president spoke to the joint session of Congress.

The picture is complex in the details, but essentially unanimous in the major points. Let me lay the details out a bit.

The chart above shows all the trend lines we might estimate for our health care questions, using 65 different levels of sensitivity for the smoothing. At one end, we smooth little and get a very (overly) sensitive fit. At the opposite end we smooth a lot and get a quite insensitive trend. In between is our standard estimator. The overlapping lines above make clear that the big picture is a common pattern over all 65 different degrees of sensitivity: A rise, then a flattening of opposition, and a smaller fall then a rise in support. Off to the right, you can see "bar codes" showing all the different possible current trend estimates from each of the 65 different levels of smoothing. The range of possible current trends is small, but there is a little overlap indicating some estimates may show support slightly ahead of opposition, though most show the opposite.

If you want to pick a fight, then you can pick a level of smoothing that is a little different from the others in some details. The chart below is the most sensitive estimator, one that is quite likely to chase noise, but which also picks up short term changes.

HRC35.png

Now you can see a post-speech spike in support, and a smaller drop in opposition. Both are sharp, but both also show the beginnings of a reversion in the latest polls, with support beginning to dip and opposition steady or slightly rising. If you believe this estimator, then the speech mattered, but wasn't a game changer because the short term gain for Obama has now begun to reverse.

Or, you could use a still sensitive but not quite so erratic estimator:

HCR50.png

And, Aha! the speech changed everything and the trend is now declining opposition and rising support! Well, maybe. But this rests on being sensitive enough to pick up the speech effect, but not so sensitive as to turn down based on those very latest polls.

Or you could use our standard estimator, which is "sensitive enough" but which tries not to chase outliers. It needs several polls to convince it that the polling trend has really changed.

HCR70.png

Here we see an upturn, probably driven by the speech, but the blue line hasn't caught the red line yet.

If you compare the red line in the chart above, with the red line in our interactive chart today, you'll see a bug. For reasons not yet clear, the interactive chart is producing a straight line for the opposition trend despite the fact that our standard estimator is really the red line above. Mark mentioned this mysterious bug in a previous post here. We continue to hunt it and hope for a quick fix. (For the really nerdy, we have to stabilize the line when few polls are available, and sometimes it seems the "stabilizers" kick in when they shouldn't. Probably due to the very first poll which is far from the rest. Take it out of the interactive chart with the filter option, removing HealthDay/Harris, and you get estimates much closer to the standard trend above.)

Notice that the blue line above and the corresponding black line in our interactive chart are very similar. So the interactive chart is doing the right thing with one line but not with the other. The interactive chart overshoots putting opposition at 49.9% while my estimate above is 48.5%. Meanwhile support is 45.4% on the interactive chart and 45.8% here.

Finally, what if we intentionally over-smooth-- ignoring the day-to-day noise for the long term "fundamentals" trend:

HCR99.png

The same basic story is apparent. Opposition has grown but is now slowed to a near halt. Support reversed its decline sometime in August and has begun an upturn.

And my big point is that this is essentially the picture you see in all these different trend estimates. The details are slightly different. A bump here and a drop there, and the precise estimates of support and opposition differ by as much as 2 points up or down. But the big picture is that opposition ramped up significantly through June or July but has recently slowed or stopped. Support fell less precipitously but has been working back up for a month (despite or perhaps because of the circus coverage in August.) We could pick a chart to fight over the details, but we shouldn't. It is the big picture of public opinion that is important here. Within a couple of points, opinion is evenly divided. The White House has gained a bit of momentum, but will be challenged to lower the opposition numbers, not just raise the support numbers.

Here is a chart of how the current trend estimates depend on the degree of smoothing. The range of opposition is 47-49 and the range of support is a little wider, 45-49.

Sensitivity.png


US: National Survey (Harris 9/8-15)


Harris
9/8-15/09; 2,334 adults
Mode: Internet
(Harris release)

National

Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 51% Disapprove (chart)
Reps: 15 / 85 (chart)
Dems: 79 / 21 (chart)
Inds: 46 / 54 (chart)

State of the Country
42% Right Direction, 58% Wrong Track (chart)


US: National Survey (DemCorps 9/12-16)


Democracy Corps (D)
9/12-16/09; 1,200 2008 voters
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(DemCorps release)

National

State of the Country
40% Right Direction, 52% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
52% Approve, 41% Disapprove (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Republican Party: 30 / 43
Democratic Party: 44 / 38
Barack Obama: 53 / 34 (chart)

2010 National House Ballot
47% Democrat, 41% Republican (chart)

Party ID
39% Democrat, 32% Republican, 29% independent (chart)


ME: 2010 Gov, Marriage (Kos 9/14-16)


Daily Kos (D) / Research 200
9/14-16/09; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Maine

Favorable / Unfavorable
Elizabeth Libby Mitchell: 28 / 6
Michael Michaud: 37 / 16
Steve Rowe: 31 / 13
Les Otten: 21 / 8
Peter Mills: 11 / 3
Matt Jacobson: 9 / 3
Susan Collins: 56 / 39
Olympia Snowe: 54 / 40
Barack Obama: 68 / 23

2010 Governor
Mitchell (D) 34%, Otten (R) 28%
Mitchell 35%, Mills (R) 15%
Mitchell 35%, Jacobson (R) 14%
Michaud (D) 33%, Otten 29%
Michaud 34%, Mills 15%
Michaud 34%, Jacobson 14%
Otten 31%, Rowe (D) 30%
Rowe 31%, Mills 15%
Rowe 31%, Jacobson 14%

As you may know there will be one question on the ballot this November in Maine addressing the issue of same-sex unions. In part it will read "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry?" A yes vote takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry. A no vote keeps the right of same-sex couples to marry. If the election were held today would you vote YES or NO on this question?
48% Yes, 46% No

Regardless of how you might vote do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally?
47% Favor, 49% Oppose

Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
58% Favor, 29% Oppose


US: National Survey (Kos 9/14-17)


Daily Kos (D) / Research 200
9/14-17/09; 2,400 adults, 2% margin of error
Mode: live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

National

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 55 / 38 (chart)
Nancy Pelosi: 34 / 58
Harry Reid: 30 / 58
Mitch McConnell: 19 / 63
John Boehner: 13 / 63
Democratic Party: 41 / 50
Republican Party: 23 / 67

State of the Country
40% Right Direction, 54% Wrong track (chart)


VA: McDonnell 50 Deeds 43 (Kos 9/14-16)


Daily Kos (D) / Research 2000
9/14-16/09; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Virginia

Favorable / Unfavorable
Creigh Deeds: 47 / 42
Bob McDonnell: 56 / 40
Tim Kaine: 45 / 43 (chart)
Jim Webb: 53 / 39
Mark Warner: 63 / 26 (chart)
Barack Obama: 45 / 48 (chart)

2009 Governor
McDonnell 50%, Deeds 43% (chart)

Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
48% Favor, 42% oppose


US: Parties in Congress (Gallup 9/11-13)


USA Today / Gallup
9/11-13/09; 1,030 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup: partisanship, Congress approval)

National

Job Approval / Disapproval
Republicans in Congress: 27 / 70
Democrats in Congress: 36 / 61

In dealing with the problems facing the country, do you think Barack Obama has or has not made a sincere effort to work with the Republicans in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?
60% Yes, he has
38% No, he has not

Do you think the Republicans in Congress have or have not made a sincere effort to work with Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?
33% Yes, they have
64% No, they have not

Do you think the Democrats in Congress have or have not made a sincere effort to work with the Republicans in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?
38% Yes, they have
59% No, they have not


Health Reform: Are We Screwed Either Way?

Topics: CBS , Health Care Reform , Kaiser Family Foundation

I came across two sets of analysis -- one new today, one that I missed last month -- that help add important perspective to two aspects of the conventional wisdom about public opinion on health care reform: First, that most Americans with insurance are satisfied with it and, second, the related finding that most Americans are skeptical that the proposed reforms will improve either the quality or cost of their own coverage. Surveys yield much evidence supporting both assertions, but the larger context of those results is important and not as well understood.

A new analysis out today from the Kaiser Family Foundation reviews their data on American's satisfaction with their insurance coverage. While most Americans with insurance rate it favorably and express satisfaction with "various aspects of their coverage and care," other measures tell a more complicated story:

[T]he survey evidence also suggests that positive ratings do not necessarily paint a complete picture. First, despite their reported satisfaction, significant minorities of insured Americans have trouble paying for care, put off care because they can't afford it, and worry about the future of their coverage. Second, though most Americans say their insurance is "excellent" or "good" - significant portions of those who rate their insurance positively still say they face problems paying their medical bills or are dissatisfied with certain aspects of their health insurance coverage. And third, satisfaction with coverage is not uniform. Younger Americans, those with lower incomes and those who report being in poor personal health are significantly less likely to say they are satisfied with their insurance than their counterparts.

I wrote something similar back in June (here and here; see also the findings of John Russonello's survey in July), but the Kaiser report is far more comprehensive and well worth reading in full.

The second issue involves the questions that pollsters frequently ask about whether Americans believe the proposed reforms will help, hurt or make no difference. Just yesterday, the Gallup Organization released results showing that "Americans do not expect healthcare legislation to improve the U.S. healthcare system in a number of areas -- including quality, coverage, cost, and insurance-company requirements they would have to meet in order to get procedures covered:"

2009-09-17_GallupQst.jpg

These results are similar to those obtained by the Kaiser Foundation tracking surveys, including a question about whether health care reform would affect "the quality of your own care" that Kaiser's Drew Altman has long argued "may be more important to watch than any other." In August, for example, Kaiser found that only 29% believe the reforms will make their own care better, 31% believe it will make it worse and 36% say it would stay the same.

Although many pollsters are obtaining similar results, I wonder how much of this pessimism stems from underlying worries about the quality and cost of coverage even without reform. Consider these findings reviewed in the new Kaiser analysis:

Many Americans are also worried about the uncertain future, particularly when it comes to cost. In a March 2009 survey, about half said they were worried about whether their insurance was adequate enough to cover their health care needs, including seven percent who described their insurance as inadequate . . . Those with health insurance also express underlying anxiety about the future of their coverage. In July 2009, a large majority of those with insurance, about two in three (67 percent), said they were worried about having to pay more for their health care or insurance in the future and about half (52 percent) said they were worried about losing their insurance coverage altogether.

In other words, are Americans convinced that their costs will go up and the quality of their coverage worsen either way, regardless whether reforms pass?

I thought it might be interesting to alter the text of the Gallup question and ask Americans whether the quality and cost of coverage would get better or worse if a health care bill does not pass this year. As it turns out, the pollsters at CBS News did something like this in their survey in late August. They asked a series of questions similar to those on the Gallup survey, and found only 18% who believe the current reform proposals will help then personally, 31% who believe it will hurt and 46% who say it will have no effect. They obtained similar results when asking about the costs and quality of care and their ability to see a doctor.

2009-09-17_cbs_qsts.png


Then, near the end of the survey they asked this question:

What do you think will eventually happen to the nation's health care system if there are NO government reforms right now -- will the health care system get better on its own, get worse on its own, or will the health care system stay the same as it is now?
-- 6% better, 54% worse, 34% same, 6% unsure.

So once again, these attitudes are more complicated than the conventional wisdom might lead you to believe. Yes, Americans have doubts about the costs and benefits of the proposed health care reforms, and yes, when pressed slightly more Americans express opposition to the Obama health reforms than support (on many but not all surveys). While we may be "screwed either way," many clearly prefer the status quo. Still, as the results from the Kaiser Foundation and CBS News show, Americans express considerable fear about what might happen in the absence of reform. Those inclined to just "kill the bill" -- on the Left and Right -- might want to consider those findings more carefully.


VA: McDonnell 48 Deeds 46 (Rasmussen 9/16)


Rasmussen
9/16/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

Virginia

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 49 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Kaine: 52 / 46 (chart)

2009 Governor
McDonnell 48%, Deeds 46% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bob McDonnell: 54 / 32
Creigh Deeds: 50 / 42


US: National Survey (Fox 9/15-16)


Fox News / Opinion Dynamics
9/15-16/09; 900 registered voters, 3% margin of error
375 Democrats, 5% margin of error
282 Republicans, 6% margin of error
186 independents, 7% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox News: release, story)

National

Obama Job Approval =
54% Approve, 39% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 85 / 10 (chart)
Reps: 17 / 72 (chart)
Inds: 51 / 42 (chart)
Health Care: 44 / 48 (chart)
Economy: 55 / 40 (chart)

Congress Job Approval
27% Approve, 64% Disapprove (chart)

All in all, do you think the actions Barack Obama has taken since becoming
president have helped or hurt the nation's economy, or have they not made much
of a difference?

46% Helped, 25% Hurt, 27% Not much difference

Do you think the Obama administration is proposing too many major policy
changes, not enough policy changes, or about the right amount?

44% Too many, 10% Not enough, 41% About right

Based on what you know about the health care reform legislation being
considered right now, do you favor or oppose the plan?

38% Favor, 48% Oppose (chart)

Do you think senior citizens would be better off or worse off under the
health care reforms being considered by Congress or would the reforms not make
much of a difference to most elderly Americans across the country?

23% Better off, 34% Worse off, 29% No difference

Do you think you and your family would be better off or worse off under the
health care reforms being considered or would the reforms not make much of a
difference to your family?

22% Better off, 36% Worse off, 35% No difference

Party ID
42% Democrat, 31% Republican, 21% independent (chart)


9/11 and birther misperceptions in NJ

Topics: 9/11 , Barack Obama , birther , George W. Bush , misperception , myth , truther

Back in August, I created this plot showing the parallels in partisan misperceptions about President Bush (a 9/11 conspiracy) and President Obama (not a citizen):

9-11 v birthers

Public Policy Polling just asked questions about both misperceptions in the same poll in New Jersey (PDF). While the 9/11 question, which asks whether the respondent thinks Bush had "advance knowledge" of the attacks, isn't ideal for reasons outlined in the previous post, the results are extremely similar to those presented above (though the partisan skew of the misperceptions among independents flips):

Nj2

The poll also asked if people think Obama is the anti-Christ (GOP: 14% yes, 15% not sure). It's too bad they didn't also ask about whether Bush is the anti-Christ or we could have had another nice comparison...

(Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com)


US: National Survey (Zogby 9/15-17)


Zogby Interactive
9/15-17/09; 1,978 adults, 2.2% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)

National

Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 50% Disapprove (chart)
Independents: 43 / 57 (chart)

State of the Country
41% Right Direction, 51% Wrong Track (chart)


US: National Survey (Economist 9/13-15)


Economist / YouGov
9/13-15/09; 1,000 adults, 4.8% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Economist release)

National

Overall, given what you know about them, do you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama administration?
52% Support, 48% Oppose (chart)

Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 42% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 83 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 9 / 90 (chart)
Inds: 50 / 46 (chart)
Economy: 44 / 46 (chart)
Health Care: 44 / 45 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
14% Approve, 60% Disapprove (chart)

2010 House: Generic Ballot
38% Republican, 46% Democrat (chart)

State of the Country
35% Right direction, 52% Wrong track (chart)

Party ID
34% Democrat, 25% Republican, 30% independent (chart)


TX: 2010 Gov Primary (Rasmussen 9/16)


Rasmussen
9/16/09; 790 likely GOP primary voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

Texas

Job Approval / Disapproval (among Republicans)
Pres. Obama: 18 / 80
Gov. Perry: 69 / 29

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
40% Hutchison, 38% Perry, 3% Medina

Favorable / Unfavorable (among Republicans)
Rick Perry: 72 / 26
Kay Bailey Hutchison: 71 / 26
Debra Medina: 18 / 29


NJ: 2009 Without Corzine (PPP 9/11-14)


Public Policy Polling (D)
9/11-14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(PPP release)

New Jersey

Favorable / Unfavorable
Cory Booker: 41 / 20
Frank Pallone: 14 / 25

If Jon Corzine was replaced on the ballot by Cory Booker, would you vote for Democrat Cory Booker, Republican Chris Christie, or independent Chris Daggett?
41% Christie, 33% Booker, 13% Daggett

If Jon Corzine was replaced on the ballot by Frank Pallone, would you vote for Democrat Frank Pallone, Republican Chris Christie, or independent Chris Daggett?
43% Christie, 23% Pallone, 15% Daggett


US: National Survey (Pew 9/10-15)


Pew Research Center
9/10-15/09; 1,006 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)

National

Obama Job Approval
55% Approve, 33% Disapprove (chart)

State of the Country
30% Satisfied, 64% Dissatisfied (chart)

Do you think that...
63% Barack Obama has a new approach to politics in Washington
30% Barack Obama's approach to politics in Washington is "business as usual."

As of right now, do you generally favor or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress?
42% Favor, 44% Oppose (chart)

Party ID
34% Democrat, 23% Republican, 34% independent (chart)


What Happened to the PoliticsHome Box?

Topics: Politics Home , Pollster.com

You may have noticed that the PoliticsHome box -- the one that included links to the top news stories of the day -- has disappeared from the site. Fear not, PoliticsHome fans, the box on our site is just on a temporary hiatus. PoliticsHome US, which is run by a different organization, recently launched a redesigned site that had the unfortunate side effect of "breaking" the sidebar box on Pollster (it was stuck on September 7).

The box should return soon. Meanwhile, those who have grown to enjoy their collection of "top stories right now" and the day's "must reads" can go directly to the Politics Home site.

And if you have come to use and depend on the PoliticsHome box on Pollster.com, we would appreciate it if you would email us or leave a comment. The more readers we hear from, the sooner I can get the box repaired and back in place.


NY: 2010 Sen, Gov (Marist 9/8-10)


Marist
9/8-10/09; 805 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
354 Democrats, 5.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

New York

Job Approval
Sen. Gillibrand: 26% Excellent/Good, 47% Fair/Poor (chart)
Sen. Schumer: 58 / 39 (chart)

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary (trends)
57% Gillibrand, 29% Spitzer

2010 Senate: General Election
48% George Pataki (R), 44% Kirsten Gillibrand (D) (chart)

Do you want Eliot Spitzer to run for statewide office in 2010, or not?
27% Yes, 69% No

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary (trends)
60% Paterson, 31% Spitzer

2010 Comptroller: Democratic Primary
Thomas DiNapoli 49%, Spitzer 39%


NH: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 9/14)


Rasmussen
9/14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

New Hampshire

2010 Governor
John Lynch (D) 48%, John Sununu (R) 43%
Lynch 52%, Jack Kimball (R) 31%
Lynch 51%, Chuck Morse (R) 29%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Lynch: 63 / 33 (chart)
Sununu: 53 / 41
Morse: 29 / 29
Kimball: 28 / 27


NC: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 9/15)


Rasmussen
9/15/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 47 / 52 (chart)
Gov. Perdue: 40 / 58 (chart)

2010 Senate (trends)
Richard Burr (R) 48%, Elaine Marshall (D) 38%
Burr 48%, Kenneth Lewis (D) 32%
Burr 48%, Bob Etheridge (D) 34%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Burr: 58 / 26 (chart)
Marhsall: 37 / 34
Lewis: 33 / 33
Etheridge: 37 / 35

Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?
44% Favor, 53% oppose


MA: 2010 Sen Special (Suffolk 9/12-15)


Suffolk University
9/12-15/09; 500 registered voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Suffolk: release, toplines)

Massachusetts

Favorable / Unfavorable
Stephen Lynch: 22 / 11
Martha Coakley: 53 / 16
Mike Capuano: 16 / 14
Scott Brown: 20 / 13
Vicki Kennedy: 46 / 20
Barack Obama: 64 / 30
Joe Kennedy: 62 / 23
Curt Schilling: 29 / 39
Steve Pagliuca: 3 / 0

Do you support changing Massachusetts law to allow the Governor to appoint a temporary U.S. Senator until a special election is held in January to replace Senator Kennedy?
55% Yes, 41% No

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
47% Coakley, 9% Capuano, 6% Lynch, 3% Khazei, 0% Pagliuca

Would you have voted for Joe Kennedy if he ran for the Democratic nomination?
59% Yes, 25% No

2010 Senate: General Election
Coakley 54%, Brown 24%
Capuano 36%, Brown 28%

Do you wish Vicki Kennedy were running for the U.S. Senate seat?
25% Yes, 59% No


CT: 2010 Sen (Quinnipiac 9/10-14)


Quinnipiac
9/10-14/09; 921 registered voters, 3.2% margin of error
248 Republicans, 6.2% margin of error
342 Democrats, 5.3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac: 2010 Sen, Rell Approval)

Connecticut

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
Chris Dodd 56%, Merrick Alpert 13% (chart)

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
Rob Simmons 43%, Tom Foley 5%, Sam Caligiuri 4%, Peter Schiff 2% (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
Simmons 44%, Dodd 39% (chart)
Dodd 40%, Caligiuri 36% (chart)
Dodd 40%, Foley 38%
Dodd 42%, Schiff 36%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dodd: 40 / 48 (chart)
Simmons: 41 / 11
Caligiuri: 11 / 5
Foley: 12 / 6
Schiff: 6 / 2
Alpert: 2 / 2

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sen. Lieberman: 48 / 45 (chart)
Sen. Dodd: 43 / 49 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 57 / 36 (chart)
Gov. Rell: 59 / 34 (chart)


US: Obama Approval (Gallup 9/11-13)


USA Today / Gallup
9/11-13/09; 1,030 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

Obama Job Approval / Disapproval
Economy: 46 / 51 (chart)
Health Care: 43 / 51 (chart)
Iraq: 56 / 38
The environment: 54 / 33
Energy policy: 50 / 37
Afghanistan: 49 / 42
The federal budget deficit: 38 / 58


Unusually Strong Disapproval?

Topics: Approval Ratings , Barack Obama , Gary Langer , Likely Voters

Gary Langer has a blog post up today worth reading in full, but I'll block quote two paragraphs to get you to read the rest. First, his lead:

A debate's alight on why disapproval of Barack Obama has become so unusually strong. The answer: It hasn't. Three of the last four presidents have seen this level of strong unpopularity - one of them faster; another, far deeper.

Later he adds an important reality check that can get lost in our ongoing obsession with all things health care:

I continue to say the best analogy is to the last president to take office in the teeth of a recession: Ronald Reagan declined from a peak of 73 percent approval not long after the start of his first term to 48 percent a year later. Obama's direction is the same; 9.7 percent unemployment will do that.

Indeed the economy continued to stumble through the first half of Reagan's first term, to the point where, with unemployment peaking at 10.8 percent in December 1982, 31 percent of Americans strongly disapproved of his job performance - precisely the same as Obama's strong disapproval today.

We have seen a lot of evidence lately that Republicans are expressing more enthusiasm about voting at the moment, particularly in recent surveys on the upcoming elections in New Jersey and Virginia (see the analysis here, here, here and here). The "likely voters" tend to be far more Republican than all adults or registered voters than usual, and certainly more than in the fall of 2008.

But that said, the near universal assumption by commentators and pundits of an "enthusiasm gap" overlooks something important. As reviewed in his latest post, the latest ABC/Washington Post poll finds more Americans who "strongly approve" of Obama's performance as president (35%) than "strongly disapprove" (31%).

Yes, the Rasmussen Reports survey appears to sample and measure a consistently more hostile reaction to the President. Some of this is probably the result of their use of a "likely voter" screen to select respondents, some of it may be the result of their automated methodology. But even if you are distrust the Rasmussen survey as having a Republican bias, consider that as of today their voters include almost as many that strongly approve of Obama's performance (32%) as strongly disapprove (38%).

In other words, as I wrote back in August, there are about as many Americans thrilled with Obama's performance as angry about it, although the balance may tip slightly toward the negative among habitual voters. This is not to say that Democrats don't face a hostile political environment right now, but it's useful to keep the hostility in perspective.


US: Health Care (Gallup 9/11-13)


USA Today / Gallup
9/11-13/09; 1,030 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

As you may know, President Obama is proposing a healthcare plan that is designed to expand coverage to nearly all Americans without raising taxes on the middle class or lowering the quality of healthcare. If Obama's plan is passed, do you think it would or would not be able to accomplish all of these goals?
38% Would be able to
60% Would not be able to

How confident are you that most of the cost of President Obama's healthcare plan can be paid for through cost savings in Medicare and other parts of the existing healthcare system -- very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?
43% Very/somewhat confident
56% Not too/Not at all confident

Suppose a healthcare bill passes this year. Do you think ____ would get better, would not change, or would get worse than if no healthcare bill passes?

Healthcare coverage in the U.S.:
40% Better, 37% Worse, 20% No change

The overall costs of healthcare in the U.S.:
34% Better, 40% Worse, 23% No change

Insurance company requirements to get certain treatments covered:
31% Better, 42% Worse, 25% No change

The overall quality of healthcare in te U.S.
30% Better, 41% Worse, 26% No change

Would you support or oppose a healthcare reform plan that would expand health insurance coverage to nearly all Americans if...

It would results in higher taxes on the middle class:
26% Support, 73% Oppose

Middle-class Americans would pay more for healthcare than they pay now:
20% Support, 78% Oppose

Middle-class Americans would have more restrictions on what doctors they could see or medical treatments they could receive:
15% Support, 84% Oppose

The quality of healthcare middle-class Americans receive would get worse:
13% Support, 85% Oppose


US: News Interest (Pew 9/11-14)


Pew Research Center
9/11-14/09; 1,003 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)

National

In the past few weeks, have you come to have a MORE favorable opinion of Barack Obama, a LESS favorable opinion of Barack Obama, or hasn't your opinion of him changed lately?
19% More, 26% Less, 53% No change

Most closely followed story
45% Debate over health care reform
16% Reports about swine flu and the availability of a vaccine
15% Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy
6% The eighth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks
5% The U.S. military effort in Afghanistan
2% The current situation and events in Iraq

Did you happen to watch President Obama's speech about health care on Wednesday night, or didn't you get a chance to see it?
41% Watched, 59% Did not watch

How would you characterize the tone of the debate over health care: Has it been generally polite and respectful or generally rude and disrespectful?
31% Polite and respectful
53% Rude and disrespectful


NH: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 9/14)


Rasmussen
9/14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

New Hampshire

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 50 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Lynch: 64 / 34 (chart)

2010 Senate (trends)
46% Kelly Ayotte (R), 38% Paul Hodes (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ayotte: 58 / 21
Hodes: 46 / 38


CO: 2010 Senate (Rasmussen 9/15)


Rasmussen
9/15/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

Colorado

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 48 / 51 (chart)
Gov. Ritter: 40 / 57 (chart)

2010 Senate (trends)
45% Jane Norton (R), 36% Michael Bennet (D)
42% Norton, 34% Andrew Romanoff (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bennet: 36 / 49 (chart)
Norton: 47 / 30
Romanoff: 37 / 41


NJ: Approval Ratings (PPP 9/10-14)


Public Policy Polling (D)
9/11-14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(PPP release)

New Jersey

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 45 / 48 (chart)
Sen. Menendez: 27 / 40 (chart)
Sen. Lautenberg: 38 / 44 (chart)

Do you support or oppose President Obama's health care plan, or do you not have an opinion?
39% Support, 50% Oppose, 11% No opinion


NY: 2010 Gov (Marist 9/8-10)


Marist
9/8-10/09; 805 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
354 Democrats, 5.5% margin of error
225 Republicans, 6.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

New York

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Paterson: 20% Excellent/good, 76% Fair/Poor (chart)

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
70% Cuomo, 23% Paterson (chart)
83% Giuliani, 13% Lazio (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
60% Giuliani, 34% Paterson (chart)
43% Paterson, 43% Lazio (chart)
71% Cuomo, 21% Lazio (chart)
53% Cuomo, 43% Giuliani (chart)


OH: 2010 Sen (Quinnipiac 9/10-13)


Quinnipiac University
9/10-13/09; 1,074 registered voters, 3% margin of error
375 Republicans, 5% margin of error
421 Democrats, 4.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Ohio

2010 Senate: Republican Primary (trends)
27% Rob Portman, 9% Tom Ganley

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary (trends)
26% Lee Fisher, 17% Jennifer Brunner

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
42% Fisher, 31% Portman (chart)
41% Fisher, 29% Ganley
39% Brunner, 31% Ganley
39% Brunner, 34% Portman (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Fisher: 33 / 13
Brunner: 27 / 14
Portman: 20 / 7
Ganley: 15 / 5

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 53 / 42 (chart)

Do you support or oppose President Obama's health care reform plan?
44% Support, 44% Oppose


Chinese Stats Poetry 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

The ABC/Washington Post poll tests public option hypotheticals, drawing commentary from Kevin Drum, Marc Ambinder, Nate Silver, Ezra Klein and Bill Sher.

Jennifer Agiesta breaks out subgroup findings from the Post/ABC public option questions.

Scott Rasmussen sees health care risks for the GOP.

Gary Langer questions what the Pew Research media ratings were measuring.

Chris Ciliizza asks if Corzine is coming back.

Steve Benen fisks George Will's approach to polls.

Mark Mellman says passing health care reform is about bridging two perception gaps.

Glen Bolger offers the GOP advice for holding Democrats feet to the fire.

Alex Bratty reviews health reform parallels between 1994 and 2009.

David Hill urges academic conservatives to speak up.

Tom Jensen finds no clarity on whether Obama's speech made a difference.

Resurgent Republic's focus groups covered by Marc Ambinder, Jill Lawrence, Michael O'Brien and Dave Cook.

John Zogby celebrates 25 years of polling.

Via Mokrzycki: Chinese statistical poetry.

And finally, via Mike Murphy, a political consultant favorite comes to YouTube: Danny Devito in "The Selling Of Vince D' Angelo"


US: National Survey (Bloomberg 9/10-14) -updated


Bloomberg
9/10-14/09; 1,004 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Bloomberg: Obama Approval, Health Care)
(update: full results)

National

State of the Country
40% Right Direction, 52% Wrong Track (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 61 / 36 (chart)
Hillary Clinton: 62 / 32
Nancy Pelosi: 32 / 48
Sarah Palin: 34 / 55 (chart)

Obama Job Approval
56% Approve, 37% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 50 / 45 (chart)
Health Care: 47 / 48 (chart)

2010 House: Generic Ballot
40% Democratic candidate, 32% Republican candidate (chart)

Do you think the economic stimulus passed by Congress earlier this year is helping the economy, is keeping the economy from getting worse, is having no effect, or is hurting the economy?
24% Helping the economy
23% Keeping the economy from getting worse
27% Having no effect
22% Hurting the economy

In general, do you favor or oppose President Obama's plan for health care reform?
48% Favor, 42% Oppose (chart)

Bloomberg:

A Bloomberg News poll gives Obama a job-approval rating of 56 percent and 61 percent say they feel favorably about him. Still, respondents are divided over the president's handling of health care and the economy, while giving him a negative grade on the growth of the budget deficit.

"Americans are despairing of the federal deficit in the wake of several huge government spending programs," says J. Ann Selzer, the president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the poll. "Health care is one more big- ticket item and taxpayers appear to believe at some point they, or their children, will hold the bag."

More:

At least half say they don't think Obama can fulfill promises such as passing legislation that doesn't add to the federal budget deficit, preserving the Medicare trust fund and producing savings to help pay for drugs for Medicare patients.

"The debate seems to be about money, not about the need for reform," says J. Ann Selzer, the president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the poll. "When you look at specific planks, respondents like all of them."


VA: McDonnell 42 Deeds 37 (Clarus 9/10-14)


Clarus Research Group
9/10-14/09; 600 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Clarus release)

Virginia

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 48 / 43 (chart)
Gov. Kaine: 53 / 31 (chart)
Sen. Webb: 47 / 23 (chart)
Sen. Warner: 61 / 21 (chart)

2009 Governor: General Election
42% McDonnell, 37% Deeds (chart)


NV: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 9/14)


Rasmussen
9/14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

National

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 53

2010 Senate
Sue Lowden (R) 50%, Harry Reid (D) 40%
Danny Tarkanian (R) 50%, Reid 43%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Reid: 45 / 54
Lowden: 48 / 27
Tarkanian: 57 / 30

Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?
45% Favor, 52% Oppose


Obama Speech: A Trend Changer?

Topics: Barack Obama , Charts , Health Care Reform

Was last week's health care address by President Obama a "game changer ? Just a "bounce?" Or did it leave Obama's ratings unchanged? As PPP's Tom Jensen lamented via Twitter today, it "definitely seems like there's a poll out there to fit any story line you want" about the impact of Obama's speech.

We have enough polls now to say that "game changer" is an overstatement, but concluding that the speech made no difference requires that you overlook mid to late August. A better term may be "trend changer." For the moment, we do see a modest improvement in some key trends. Will these persist? As always, that's much harder to say.   

Our chart of Obama' job approval rating, embedded below, now includes seven surveys conducted entirely after the speech last week. As some commentators noticed yesterday, the nose of the black approval trend line has turned upward for the first time since April. As of this hour, the estimate of 53.8% approval, based on all available polls, represents an increase of 2.3 percentage points in the approval percentage since hitting a low of 50.4% on August 27.

That relatively modest upward slope on that trend line is still not "locked in." It may still disappear or fade depending on the values of the polls released over the next week or so. New polls typically change the trend lines on our charts by altering the slope of the "nose" of the chart a little further up or down. So in a week or so, the new polls will either confirm the upward movement, flatten it out or possibly even turn it downward.

But for the moment, our usually small-c conservative trend line is showing a very modest upturn in Obama's job approval rating for the first time since April.

You can see a similar changes in the most general opinions expressed about health care reform, although the number of available surveys is much smaller so the trends are generally not evident on our two health care charts. Three pollsters have reported before and after measurements of Obama's job approval rating on health care reform: CNN/ORC, ABC News/Washington Post and CBS News. All three show nominal increases in his approval rating. The change is bigger on the CBS survey, although that may be because they used a "panel back" design that recontacted respondents originally interviewed during late August.


2009-09-15_health_approval.png

Two pollsters so far -- CNN and Rasmussen Reports -- have updated general favor-or-oppose questions about the Obama health care reforms. As of today, the "favor" percentage has ticked up on both surveys since surveys in mid-to-late August.  Like the job approval ratings, represent returns to levels seen earlier in the summer.  Taken alone, these changes are not large enough to achieve statistical significance, but we can have some confidence in their consistency to the small improvement in Obama's approval ratings since late August.

2009-09-15_health-fav-opp.png

So multiple tracking measures from multiple pollsters show roughly the same thing: Small, nominal increases in approval for Obama or support for health reform.   

Will these modest gains persist? If history is a guide, the answer is probably no. That said, the interesting thing to watch as more data become available is not just whether the gains hold but also their source. The White House appears to be directing considerable message firepower at its base: A speech with an emotional tribute to Ted Kennedy, speeches to organized labor and appearances on 60 Minutes and (next weekend) on all of the Sunday morning talk shows that will reach the better-educated news junkies who formed the core of Obama's primary support.

While the data do not show the public opinion "game changer" that some Democrats hoped for, they might want to consider the point that Bob Shapiro made here last week: "what will count most is not what the public thinks at this moment, but rather the extent to which Democratic leaders unite around Obama's plan." He points out that in 1993-1994, "Democratic leaders never supported any Clinton plan, and this, along with the strong Republican leadership opposition caused the public to become apprehensive and turn against health care reform."

That observation is interesting given a comment I heard from a Democratic campaign pollster a few weeks ago. He said that in addition to news about the bad economy and the heavy level of government spending seen over the last year, independent voters were most aware that while Republicans seemed united in opposition to Obama's health care reforms, Democrats in Congress seemed divided. News coverage tends to focus more on the process than substance, so that finding is not surprising, but the bad news for Democrats is the inferences that voters draw: if the Democrats are divided, they conclude, there may be something to Republican claims about "death panels" and a "government takeover" of health care. When that happens, independents and moderate Democrats get nervous.

President Obama did appear to achieve a greater sense of unity and support from Democratic lawmakers in the immediate aftermath of the vote. If that unity persists, it may not only make passage of health care reform more likely, but also help improve the news coverage in a way that helps solidify these modest gains in approval.


NM: Approval Ratings (Albuquerque Journal 9/8-10)


Albuquerque Journal / Research & Polling Inc.
9/8-10/09; 402 registered voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Albuquerque Journal story -requires subscription or viewing a short ad)

New Mexico

Job Approval/Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 53 / 37
Sen. Bingaman: 61 / 21
Sen. Udall: 59 / 24


NJ: Christie 44 Corzine 35 (PPP 9/11-14)


Public Policy polling (D)
9/11-14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(PPP release)

New Jersey

2009 Governor
Christie 44%, Corzine 35%, Daggett 13% (chart)

Asked only of Daggett voters: Is your second choice for Governor Chris Christie or Jon Corzine?
Christie 48%, Corzine 32%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Christie (R): 45 / 41
Jon Corzine (D): 32 / 60 (chart)
Chris Daggett (i): 21 / 16


US: Employer health benefits (Kaiser Jan-May 2009)


Kaiser Family Foundation / Health Research and Educational Trust / University of Chicago, National Research LLC
January-May 2009; 3,188 employers (1,134 answered only whether their firm provided health insurance)
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kaiser: summary page, complete report, key findings)

National

Kaiser:

In 2009, there was an increase in the average family premium, the percentage of covered workers with a deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage, office visit copayments, and the percentage of large firms offering wellness programs. The average premium for single coverage did not significantly increase, breaking a long-standing trend.

The survey shows that many of the statistics related to health benefits remained relatively stable despite the severe economic downturn. This may indicate a strong commitment to maintaining workers' benefits, but several other factors may have contributed to this result as well. One is that the survey only collects information from firms that are still in business and cannot estimate the number of workers who lost coverage due to their company downsizing or closing. Another is that some firms may have made decisions about health benefits in advance of the plan
year and may not have foreseen the full impact of the worsening economy on the firm. These firms may have made changes after they were surveyed or may make changes for the next plan year.


US: Doctors on Health Reform (RWJF 6/25-9/4)


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
6/25-9/4/09; 2,130 physicians
Mode: Mail with follow-up phone calls
(RWJF release)

Physician support for coverage expansion options...

    63% Public and Private Options: Provide people under age 65 the choice of enrolling in a new public health insurance plan (like Medicare) or in private plans.
    27% Private Options Only: Provide people with tax credits or low income subsidies to buy private insurance coverage (without creating a public plan option).
    10% Public Option Only: Eliminate private insurance and cover everyone in a single public plan like Medicare.

Support for allowing adults age 55-64 to buy into the current Medicare program
58% Support, 23% Oppose

Which Insurance Performs Better: Private Insurance or Traditional Medicare...

On demands for doctors for paperwork and administrative tasks:
34% Private insurance, 29% Medicare

On ease of obtaining services patients need:
36% Medicare, 34% Private insurance

On autonomy in doctors' decision-making:
34% Medicare, 30% Private insurance

On timeliness of reimbursements:
32% Private insurance, 24% Medicare

On adequacy of payments to doctors:
62% Private insurance, 9% Medicare

On overall experience for doctor:
46% Private insurance, 21% Medicare


US: National Survey (Zogby 9/10-14)


Zogby Interactive
9/10-14, 4,742 likely voters, 1.5% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)

Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 50% Disapprove (chart)
Independents: 46 / 54 (chart)


US: Health Care, Obama (Gallup 9/11-13)


USA Today / Gallup
9/11-13/09; 1,030, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(USA Today: Health care article, Obama Approval article)

National

Obama Job Approval
54% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)

Would you advise your member of Congress to vote for or against a health care bill this year?
50% For, 47% Against

If Obama's health care plan is passed, will it accompish his goals? that is, to expand coverage to nearly all Americans without raising taxes on the middle class or lowering the quality of health care for those who have coverage.
38% Yes, 60% No


US: Health Care (Rasmussen 9/13-14)


Rasmussen
9/13-14/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

National

Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?
45% Favor, 52% Oppose (chart)

If the health care reform plan passes, will the quality of health care get better, worse, or stay about the same?
27% Better, 46% Worse, 19% Same

If the health care reform plan passes, will the cost of health care go up, go down, or stay about the same?
47% Up, 20% Down, 23% Same


OH: Strickland 46 Kasich 36 (Quinnipiac 9/10-13)


Quinnipiac University
9/10-13/09; 1,074 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Ohio

2010 Governor
Strickland 46%, Kasich 36% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ted Strickland: 43 / 34 (chart)
John Kasich: 22 / 10

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Strickland: 48 / 42 (chart)
Sen. Voinovich: 52 / 34 (chart)
Sen. Brown: 48 / 33 (chart)


US: Economy (ABC/Post 9/10-12)


ABC News / Washington Post
9/10-12/09; 1,007 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ABC: story, results; Post: story, results)

National

Obama Job Approval: Economy
51% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)

Who do you trust to do a better job handling the economy??
48% Obama, 37% Republicans in Congress

Do you think the economic stimulus program has...
32% Helped the national economy
19% Hurt the national economy

How confident are you that the federal government is putting
measures into place that will make another financial crisis less likely in the future? (half sample)

48% Confident, 50% Not confident

How confident are you that financial institutions will change their business practices in a way that makes another financial crisis less likely in the future? (half sample)
41% Confident, 58% Not confident

How much blame do you think ____ deserves for the country's economic situation

The Bush administration, for inadequate regulation of the financial industry:
65% Great deal/Good amount, 35% Some/Hardly any/None

The Obama administration, for not doing enough to turn the economy around:
27% Great deal/Good amount, 71% Some/Hardly any/None


CT: 2010, 2012 Sen (Kos 9/8-10)


Daily Kos (D) / Research 2000
9/8-10/09; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
400 likely Republican primary voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Connecticut

Favorable / Unfavorable
Sen. Chris Dodd (D): 43 / 47 (chart)
Rob Simmons (R): 43 / 17
Sam Caligiuri (R): 14 / 8
Thomas Foley (R): 19 / 6
Peter Schiff (R): 11 / 6
Sen. Joe Lieberman (i): 47 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Jodi Rell (R): 67 / 25 (chart)
Ned Lamont (D): 45 / 38
Dick Blumenthal (D): 55 / 22
Barack Obama: 67 / 25 (chart)

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
38% Simmons, 7% Caligiuri, 6% Foley, 1% Schiff (trend)

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
46% Simmons, 42% Dodd (chart)
46% Dodd, 37% Caligiuri (chart)
44% Dodd, 40% Foley
47% Dodd, 35% Schiff

2012 Senate (trends)
46% Rell, 26% Lamont, 26% Lieberman
40% Rell, 32% Blumenthal, 23% Lieberman

Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
68% Favor, 21% Oppose


NYC: 2009 Mayor (SurveyUSA 9/11-13)


SurveyUSA / WABC-TV
9/11-13/09; 630 likely Democratic primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(SurveyUSA release)

New York City

2009 Mayor: Democratic Primary (chart)
49% Bill Thompson
20% Tony Avella
4% Jimmy McMillan
2% Roland Rogers


Interpreting "Who do you trust" polls

Topics: Barack Obama , health care , Health Care Reform , polls , trust

Though the public is closely divided on health care reform, Matthew Yglesias suggests an alternative interpretation in which "Obama is clearly winning" on the issue because of the zero sum nature of partisan politics. As evidence, he cites the public's preference for Democrats on the "Who do you trust to do a better job handling health care?" question in the latest Washington Post poll (48% Democrats, 36% Republicans).

However, it's not clear that the issue is zero sum. While a plurality of the public may prefer the Democratic approach to health care reform to the Republican approach (i.e. D > R), many of those same people may prefer the status quo to both parties' approaches (i.e. SQ > D > R). As a result, the Democratic pursuit of health care reform may hurt them more than Republicans, who are unlikely to have the power to pass legislation any time soon.

Update 9/14 4:41 PM: To clarify, the question is whether saying you trust Republicans to handle health care can be interpreted as a preference for the status quo over the Democratic proposals and nothing more. My argument is that saying you trust Republicans to "handle" health care may instead be interpreted as indicating a preference for the GOP's private market approach to reform (i.e. John McCain's plan). If a large number of people interpret the question this way and don't like the private market approach, the Democatic approach could look artificially popular. Individual-level poll data would help us adjudicate between these two different stories.

(Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com)


US: National Survey (CNN 9/11-13)


CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
9/11-13/09; 1,012 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release

National

Obama Job Approval
58% Approve, 40% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 54 / 45 (chart)
Foreign Affairs: 58 / 38 (chart)
Health Care: 51 / 47 (chart)

From everything you have heard or read so far, do you favor or oppose Barack Obama's plan to reform health care?
51% Favor, 46% Oppose (chart)

From what you know of the health care reforms which the Administration is working on, do you think the amount you pay for medical care would increase, decrease, or remain the same?
47% Increase, 16% Decrease, 35% Same

From what you know of those health care reforms, do you think you and your family would, in general, be better off, worse off or about the same?
21% Better off, 35% Worse off, 43% About the same

And from what you know of those health care reforms, do you think senior citizens who are currently on Medicare would, in general, be better off, worse off or about the same?
24% Better off, 37% Worse off, 36% Same

In reacting to President Obama's health care proposals, do you think the Republicans are generally offering constructive criticism, or are they being obstructionist for mostly political reasons?
35% Constructive, 61% Obstructionist

If Obama's plan became law, do you think senior citizens or seriously-ill patients would die because government panels would prevent them from getting the medical treatment they needed?
41% Would happen, 57% Would not happen

If Obama's plan became law, do you think that the federal government would or would not provide insurance to illegal immigrants?
47% Would happen, 49% Would not happen

During [Obama's] address, a Republican member of the U.S. House shouted that Obama had lied while Obama was speaking. Do you think that was appropriate behavior or inappropriate behavior?
15% Appropriate, 85% Inappropriate

And just your best guess -- based on what you have read or heard about that address, do you think
Obama lied while he was speaking to Congress on Wednesday night, or don't you think so?

32% Obama lied
60% Don't think so


AR: 2010 Sen (Kos 9/8-10)


Daily Kos (D) / Research 2000
9/8-10/09; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Arkansas

Favorable / Unfavorable
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D): 43 / 49
Gilbert Baker (R): 14 / 13
Curtis Coleman (R): 12 / 13
Tom Cox (R): 8 / 7
Kim Hendren (R): 6 / 9
Gov. Mike Beebe (D): 66 / 23
Sen. Mark Pryor (D): 50 / 36
Barack Obama: 41 / 55

2010 Senate
44% Lincoln, 37% Baker
45% Lincoln, 37% Coleman
46% Lincoln, 29% Cox
47% Lincoln, 28% Hendren

Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
55% Favor, 38% Oppose

Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?
63% Yes, 17% No


US: National Survey (OnMessage 8/25-26)


OnMessage Inc (R)
8/25-26/09; 1,200 likely voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(release)

National

Obama Job Approval
55% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)
Health care: 43 / 51 (chart)

2010 Generic House Ballot
36% Democrat, 36% Republican (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Obama: 53 / 42 (chart)

State of the Country
35% Right Direction, 56% Wrong Track (chart)

Do you favor or oppose the current health care legislation being pushed by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress?
38% Support, 53% Oppose (chart)


US: National Survey (Gallup 9/11-13)


USA Today / Gallup
9/11-13/09; 1,030, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(blog posts: USA Today, Gallup)
(Update 1: Gallup on Rep. Wilson)

National

Obama Job Approval
54% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)

Do you support or oppose what [South Carolina Congressman] Joe Wilson did during the [Obama healthcare] speech?
21% Support, 68% Oppose

(this entry will be updated as more data becomes available)


US: Health Care (AUFC 9/10-11)


Americans United for Change (D) / Anzalone Liszt (D)
9/10-11/09; 801 likely voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Anzalone Liszt release)

National

Obama Job Approval
56% Excellent/Good, 41% Not so good/Poor (chart)

In your opinion, would you say the healthcare system in America is okay the way it is, needs minor reforms, needs major reforms, or needs a total overhaul?
9% Okay the way it is
28% Needs minor reforms
41% Needs major reforms
19% Needs a total overhaul

If your member of Congress voted in favor of healthcare reform, would you be much more likely to re-elect your member of Congress, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely, or much less likely to re-elect your member of Congress?
49% More likely
39% Less likely

Who do you trust more to reform healthcare in America -- President Obama, or the Republicans in Congress?
45% President Obama
30% Republicans in Congress

From what you have seen or heard about [Obama's health care] speech, are you more likely or less likely to support President Obama's healthcare reform plan?
48% More likely
37% Less likely

Thinking about President Obama's healthcare reform plan, if the plan included a public option that gave people a choice between private insurance plans and a public health insurance plan, would you be more likely or less likely to support it?
62% More likely
28% Less likely

Party ID
38% Democrat, 28% Republican, 30% independent (chart)


In Defense of Automated Surveys

Topics: Automated polls , Gallup Daily , IVR Polls , Rasmussen

My National Journal column for the week, now posted, defends automated, recorded voice polling from what is becoming a common line of attack: without a live interviewer anyone, regardless of age, might participate in the survey. Please click through for the details.

Since I typically file my NationalJournal.com columns on Friday afternoon to appear on Monday morning, I get a chance to mull them over all weekend before posting these quick updates on Pollster. This weekend, I realized I that one conclusion could have used more emphasis: My bottom-line on automated polls is that they have established a strong record in measuring campaign horse-race results in pre-election polls. Over at least the last four election cycles, they have been as accurate as live election polls at the end of the campaign, and their horse race results generally track well with live interviewer surveys. So I think that it is wrong to condemn automated polls simply because they use a recorded voice rather than live interviewers.

That said, we need to keep in mind that the mode of interview is just one aspect of a methodology. If you look at the best known automated surveys, you will see a lot of variation in how they draw their samples, how persistent they are in attempting to call-back households where no one answers on the first call, how many interviews they conduct, how they identify likely voters, how they weight the data and, finally, in the questions they ask. All of those factors might make any given automated poll more or less reliable or accurate than any given live interviewer poll.

Also, while automated surveys have proven themselves in one particular application -- measuring campaign horse race numbers late in the campaign -- we need to be careful about overlooking potential shortcomings for other kinds of research. I would certainly not recommend an automated interview for any general population study that wants to ask more than four or five substantive questions or that involves open-ended questions that allows respondents to answer in their own words.

On a slightly different subject, the column also highlights one statistic that Charles Franklin computed:

[T]he national job approval data does not support the assertion that automated polls are more "erratic." My Pollster.com partner Charles Franklin checked and found that despite identically sized three-day samples, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll is less variable than Gallup (showing standard deviations of 1.8 and 2.4, respectively), probably because Rasmussen weights its results by party identification.

Charles also sent along a chart, which is based on deviations from the trend line for Obama's job approval rating since taking office in January.

2009-09-14_gallup_vs_rasmussen.png

The tails of the Gallup curve are slightly wider than the Rasmussen curve. The point is not that Rasmussen is better or worse than Gallup, again only that the presidential approval is slightly less variable as Rasmussen, probably because they weight by party.

You can certainly make a case that rolling average daily tracking, whether automated or traditional, includes a lot of random variation, and that those seeking a narrative can find whatever story they want in the meaningless daily bumps. On that score, I generally agree with the advice offered by the First Read piece I quoted in the column: Beware -- lots of daily approval polls with widely differing methods "lets some folks cherry-pick what they want."

Finally, one subject that deserves more attention than the two brief paragraphs I gave it is what we lose when a live interviewer does not gather the data. A few weeks ago, a survey researcher named Colleen Porter shared a defense of quality interviewing in the form of an anecdote on the member-only listserv of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). She gave me permission to share the story here, in which she describes monitoring an interview being conducted on behalf of her client:

The interviewer is amazing. Her surname is Hispanic--is she this good in Spanish, too? Of course they put their best interviewers on the first night; I would, too, when I was at a survey lab.

When she asks about the location of an event, the respondent commences a story about the many times it has happened. The interviewer repeats the question exactly as worded, with emphasis on "LAST TIME," but a tone of complete patience as if reading a new question. The respondent focuses, and answers promptly.

That is exactly how it is supposed to work. Score! As the respected client, I am off in a room alone, and there is no one to give a high five. I punch the air. I love to hear good interviewing.

Update: Brenden Nyhan emails to pass along a 2006 journal article by respected political scientist Gary Jacobsen (requires a subscription to view the published article, but you can access an earlier conference version of the paper here, in pdf format). Jacobsen's paper is based in the 50-state job approval surveys that automated pollster SurveyUSA conducted during 2005 and early 2006. In the article's appendix, he describes how he "examined the data carefully for internal and external consistency as well as intuitive plausibility" and found that "they passed all of the tests very satisfactorily." His conclusion:

In sum, I found no reason to believe that the quality and accuracy of the aggregate data produced by SurveyUSA's automated telephone methodology is in any way inferior to that produced by other telephone surveys, and I thus have no qualms about using the data for scientific research on aggregate state-level political behavior.


NY: Obama Approval (Marist 9/8-10)


Marist
9/8-10/09; 805 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

New York

Obama Job Approval
57% Excellent/Good, 43% Fair/Poor (chart)
Health Care: 52 / 43
Economy: 60 / 38


US: Economy (AP-GfK 9/3-8)


AP-GfK
9/3-8/09; 1,001 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(AP release)

National

Would you describe the nation's economy these days as good, poor, or neither good nor poor?
16% Good, 80% Poor, 4% Neither

And would you describe the financial situation in your own household these days as good, poor, or neither good nor poor?
58% Good, 37% Poor, 5% Neither

Thinking about the stimulus package that was approved by Congress in February to help improve the economy, do you think that the stimulus package ...
17% Heas helped bring about improvements to the economy
21% Did even more damage to the economy than would have happened otherwise
21% Had no real effect on the condition of the economy

How confident are you that the stimulus package will work to bring about significant improvements in the U.S. economy?
40% Confident
59% Not confident

How much do you blame each of the following for the recession?
President Obama: 20% A lot/Quite a bit, 61% Only a little/No blame
President Bush: 54 / 20
President Clinton: 19 / 54
Banks and lenders that made risky loans: 79 / 7
People who borrowed money that they could not afford to repay: 65 / 15
The federal government for failing to regulate banks closely enough: 68 / 14

How confident are you that the federal government has taken enough steps to ensure that a meltdown of the financial industry could not happen again in this country?
30% Confident, 70% Not confident


US: Press Accuracy (Pew 7/22-26)


Pew Research Center
7/22-26/09; 1,506 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)

National

Some people think that by criticizing leaders, news organizations keep political leaders from doing their job. Others think that such criticism is worth it because it keeps political leaders from doing things that should not be done. Which position is closer to your opinion?
22% Keeps leaders from doing their job
62% Keeps leaders from doing things that shouldn't be done

In general, do you think news organizations get the facts straight, or do you think that their stories and reports are often inaccurate?
29% Get the facts straight
63% Often inaccurate

In presenting the news dealing with political and social issues, do you think that news organizations deal fairly with all sides, or do they tend to favor one side?
18% Deal fairly with all sides
74% Tend to favor one side

In general, do you think news organizations are pretty independent, or are they often influenced by powerful people and organizations?
20% Pretty independent
74% Often influenced by powerful people and organizations


US: Health Care (Rasmussen 9/12-13)


Rasmussen
9/12-13/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: IVR
(Rasmussen release)

National

Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?
51% Favor, 46% Oppose (chart)

If the health care reform plan passes, will the quality of health care get better, worse, or stay about the same?
34% Better, 46% Worse, 15% Same

If the health care reform plan passes, will the cost of health care go up, go down, or stay about the same?
42% up, 28% Down, 21% Same


Obama's health numbers: Not moving much

Topics: Barack Obama , health care , Health Care Reform , Speech Reaction

Last week, I predicted that President Obama's primetime speech to Congress would fail to have a significant effect on public opinion. While it's too early to reach a definitive conclusion, the early indications are largely consistent with that conclusion. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Sept. 10-12 shows no statistically significant change in Obama's approval on health care or support for health care reform compared with a poll conducted August 10-12 (see also the Post story on the poll -- via Kaus). At best, Obama might have regained the ground he lost in late August -- a CBS News poll (PDF) conducted Sept. 10 showed a 12 point increase in approval of the president on health care compared with a poll conducted August 27-31, but that poll also showed no change in the percentage of Americans who think health care reform would help them personally. (In addition, the CBS poll re-surveyed respondents from the August 27-31 poll -- a format that is useful for comparing opinions before and after the speech, but may not be fully representative.)

Update 9/16 8:36 PM: Nate Silver calls me and George Stephanopolous out, falsely stating that both of us "[concluded] that there is no bounce on the basis of the ABC poll... while ignoring the other polling." That's wrong on two counts. First, at the time I posted, I had not seen any post-speech polls other than the ones cited in the post. Second, I didn't say "there is no bounce" -- I said the speech would most likely "fail to have a significant effect on public opinion" and that, "While it's too early to reach a definitive conclusion, the early indications are largely consistent with that conclusion." (Note also the post title: "Obama's health numbers: Not moving much" [emphasis added].)

Since I wrote that post, Rasmussen and CNN have released polls showing what Mark Blumenthal describes as "[s]mall, nominal increases in approval for Obama or support for health reform." In particular, the observed increases in support for health reform in the two polls were not statistically significant (Rasmussen's has seemingly dissipated already). Despite preliminary evidence of a small uptick in Obama's approval, I'll stand by my claim.

(Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com)


US: Health Care (ABC/Post 9/10-12)


ABC News / Washington Post
9/10-12/09; 1,007 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ABC: story, results; Post: story; results)

National

Obama Job Approval
54% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)
Health Care:48 / 48 (chart)
Economy: 51 / 46 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 63 / 35 (chart)

Overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama administration?
46% Support, 48% Oppose (chart)

Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
55% Support, 42% Oppose

Say health care reform does NOT include the option of a government-sponsored health plan - in that case would you support or oppose the rest of the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama
administration?

50% Support, 42% Oppose

Would you support or oppose a law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, either getting it from work or buying it on their own?
51% Support, 47% Oppose

Do you think the Republicans in Congress are or are not making a good faith effort to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats on health care reform?
31% Are, 62% Are not

Do you think Obama and the Democrats in Congress are or are not making a good faith effort to cooperate with the Republicans on health care reform?
50% Are, 44% Are not

Party ID
32% Democrat, 21% Republican, 43% independent (chart)


NJ: Christie 47 Corzine 39 (Monmouth 9/8-10)


Monmouth University / Gannett
9/8-10/09; 752 registered voters, 3.6% margin of error
531 likely voters, 4.3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Monmouth release)

New Jersey

2009 Governor (chart)
Registered voters: Corzine 41%, Christie 40%, Daggett 6%
Likely voters: Christie 47%, Corzine 39%, Daggett 5%

Favorable / Unfavorable

Jon Corzine (chart)
Registered voters: 39 / 45
Likely voters: 37 / 53

Chris Christie
Registered voters: 41 / 29
Likely voters: 48 / 30

Chris Daggett
Registered voters: 10 / 7
Likely voters: 11 / 6

Job Approval / Disapproval

Gov. Corzine (chart)
Registered voters: 37 / 52
Likely voters: 34 / 58


 

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